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Split stay BLT & AKV Kidani 1BRs (review-ish)

ljmiii

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We just stayed at BLT and AKV Kidani in a 1BR over (pre)Easter Week. We fell in love with BLT all over again - the 1BRs are amazingly spacious with plenty of room and two separate beds in the LR, and that 'extra' en-suite bathroom off the master BR. We walked to MK two days of our stay and the theme park view never disappoints - we caught two nights of fireworks from our room. We ate a tasty, informal dinner at the Steakhouse 71 lounge one night and the restaurant is a great addition to the Contemporary (the Wave was for us a one and done).

We also discovered that the Skyliner turns out to benefit BLT - we Monorailed out to EPCOT as usual, but the last thing we did in EPCOT was Remy and so we ducked out EPCOT's backdoor to the Skyliner to HS to a bus home. Much faster and more pleasant than walking to the front, Monorailing to TTC, then taking the slow tour 'around the world' on the resort Monorail.

It was our first time at AKV Kidani (we're new owners there) though we had once stayed at Jambo. While the themeing was fun and it was kind of cool to see animals from our deck every morning there is just no getting around the fact that it isn't at nice as BLT. Yes it had the 'extra' bathroom and chairbed in the LR, but the LR and Kitchen are more cramped and there just seemed to be a foot or so missing in every dimension. My son kept elbowing the TV from the dining bench, the LR beds rested an inch apart when open (blocking access to the balcony), and the kitchen was a little tight as I cooked breakfast every morning. The master bathroom was also something of a pit with no natural light. On the positive side, it *was* nice to have a balcony off the LR as well as the master BR.

The Kidani pool was nice, it was great to have a separate grocery/sundry shop in Kidani, and the underground parking was convenient in bad weather. We tried for the Sanaa lounge our first night at AKV but it was full. That said, dinner at Boma was it's usual wonderfulness.

All in all, yet another great stay at WDW. We were able to save a bunch of points by staying in 1BRs since we now require three beds and two bathrooms. Next year we're at the Boardwalk in a 2BR for the same reason.
 
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nomoretslt

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Agree that monorail from BLT to Epcot is quick and easy. If we want to leave from the back gate, we will walk over to Beach Club and grab a bus to MK and then walk to BLT.....or get on the monorail since it is the next stop.

AKL Kidani has a great community hall and I also love the underground parking. It’s just a bit removed from the action, but that can be a good thing sometimes.

Lakeview one bedrooms at BLT can be really great. We watched fireworks from the sky bridge and the water pageant from our balcony.

Sounds like you had a good trip overall.
 

rickandcindy23

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Wyndham Platinum Founders(cough,gag). RCI, Shell, and WorldMark points. Disney's OKW and SSR pts; Marriott's Willow Ridge (4);Val Chatelle (7); Hono Koa (3); SBP lots and lots, SDO a few; Grand Palms (selling those). WKORV-OF (2).
Animal Kingdom Kidani seemed so fancy when it was new. They replaced the beautiful living room furniture with plain brown furniture. It's not as impressive anymore. I was awestruck by it our first stay through exchange. We had a savanna view. This past May our kids had a week and it was nothing to write home about. They were definitely not impressed with it anymore.

Old Key West is still our favorite, but the living room furniture is in sore need of replacing.

BLT was nice. It's too bad we cannot get that through exchange anymore. I wonder if II will have more inventory for the newer resorts. It seems that only an occasional BWV or AKL shows up, but mostly it's the same old OKW and SSR. We own at OKW and SSR, so I like staying there cheap through exchange.
 

nomoretslt

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OKW and SSR are both great resorts. Also a bit removed, but for the points OKW is a bargain. You also get the benefits of early entry and late night even though it’s an exchange, correct? BWV has the best points chart for standard. Crowds have not been bad so far.
 

elaine

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AKV is trade-off for us of dark interior, less space for great pool (Jambo), theming, wonderful lobby area (Jambo) and nice lounges/animal viewing places scattered throughout resort--and if using DVC points, quite cost-effective. For us, (using RCI), the new SSR is the bomb! Stayed there 3X the past year.
 

TheHolleys87

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You also get the benefits of early entry and late night even though it’s an exchange, correct?
Yes, you get early entry as a Disney Resort guest and late night as a Deluxe Disney Resort guest. You also get free overnight parking at the resort because you’re a DVC guest (so watch your room folio in MDE and let them know if you’re charged for parking there) and free parking at the parks because you’re a Disney Resort guest. It’s a great exchange!
 

noreenkate

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- I will & have stayed outside the bubble before staying at Kidani again! @ljmiii we had a really bad experience there + the rooms are too dark and agree kitchens are just not workable, we have done full thanksgiving dinners @ OKW with no issues no way that’s happening in Kidani. Seriously for upcoming Moonlight Magic I choose All Star sports over AKVs.

I have not actually stayed at BLT yet no urge - but used the TotW lounge often pre-Covid-19. The lobby @ BLT reminds me of my dentist office- its so bland, but that seems to be the way DVC is going…
 

ljmiii

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I have not actually stayed at BLT yet no urge...The lobby @ BLT reminds me of my dentist office
To me the 'Disney Magic' of BLT stems from its being part of the Contemporary. The monorail, the Grand Concourse Mural, and all the design details speak to the amazing 'World of Tomorrow' that Walt imagined and promised. I fell in love with the Contemporary when I rode the monorail through the lobby on my only childhood trip to WDW. That it is one of my 'homes' thrills me to no end.

And as for 'practical magic'... we *love* walking to the MK. The Contemporary has better and more varied dining than almost any other resort and since you're on both the monorail and Bay Lake boat lines your access to other monorail resorts and Ft Wilderness is without equal. And if you have a bunch of teenagers in your party there is nothing more magical than an 'extra' bathroom.

And then of course there is the view. We go back and forth between Theme Park and Lake View villas depending on our points situation...but we've never had a bad view.

I can't really compare it to OKW since we've never been. But we've stayed at BCV, BWV, both sides of AKV, VWL (now BRV), and the hotel sides of Poly and GF. To us nothing compares (except VGC...which has the same 'magical' park access and 'extra' bathroom but trades stunning themeing for lack of view).
 
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